|Wereing on the Moon
by Michael Bard
© Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
He wanted to rub his shoulder where that Earth girl had bit him, but the space suit was in the way.
"Bloody women, bloody one night flings, bloody sharp teeth..."
At least it had healed fast.
"How am I supposed to start my own starship design company if human woman bribe me, dine me, rape me, and then tear hunks out of my shoulders." It has been pleasurable though, he had to admit that.
"Hey genius," Holly's voice buzzed in my helmet, "get a move on -- we've got a schedule here!"
Swallowing my muttering, I switched my radio back to transmit. "Sorry, I'm on my way."
It was a summer job, simple, yet labourious. Low level maintenance of vacuum nanite manufactoring complexes, more commonly known as nanofacs. Meteorite dust was a constant problem and when one of the domes registered a power drop from its solar cells I was one of the lucky sods who got to clean them off. Something that just wasn't worth automating. Holly, the crew chief, wasn't anywhere nearby -- we were scattered throughout this nanofac cluster, each to a different building. The buggy we used was parked near the centre. And we had to get it done before sunrise.
With graceful leaps born of long practice I skipped through the fine dust scattered along the mooncrete roadway to my assigned dome. Jogging to a stop I pulled the extendable brush from its sling over my back and began slowly and gently brushing the dust off the solar collectors and back onto the ground. You had to move slowly -- the dust was extremely fine, and sudden motion gave it a static charge that made it cling to everything. A gentle stroke down, a gentle lifting of the brush, and then a second stroke. Another gentle lift, then a step to the right, and repeat.
Hours passed. My suit got hot and I swallowed probably more water than I should have from the helmet nipple. It didn't really matter, it was all recycled anyway. The door to the nanofac slid open from the dustlock -- the interiors needed to be a perfect vaccuum for the manufacturing process -- and a second stage processing result moved on an automated trolly to the next nanofac in sequence. I think this cluster was making silicon chips for door motion controllers down on earth. More hours, more tepid water, more gentle brushing. We had to get the job done before dawn. Of course we chitchatted, my encounter with the earth girl over the weekend was the primary topic.
I hope I had the radio turned off while I was muttering, but from the conversation that seemed more and more unlikely.
Finally it was done, and just in time too.
"Okay guys, get a move on," Holly burst in, "we've got one more to do today."
Muttering along with the others I acknowledged and turned away from the solar cells to make my way towards the buggy. Just as sunrise reached me, light bouncing off the dust into my helmet (I was looking down -- the first thing anybody learns is to always look down to prevent blindness). For a fraction of a second the light shone in my eyes, and then my helmet polarized.
That fraction must have been enough. When the were's revealed themselves we learned that it was a specific frequency of light, something in the silicon makeup of the lunar surface, that triggered the change. And with it took a number of changes before the were had control over themselves in their animal form.
Why hadn't she told me?!
The change was fast, or so I found out later. It seemed to take forever to me. The first thing I felt was my tail, a bony speak that pushed out, through my cooling undersuit, and then pressed up against my back. Suits have to be tough, and that fact saved me right then. It was also fortunte that I didn't change into an adult, in fact I shrunk significantly (the physicist who figured out where the mass went and a way to duplicate it would win a Nobel Prize as the least of his rewards) as my feet stretched and my legs shrank, the combination affect pulling my changing legs up into the legs of the suit. Which, of course, began to fall over. Fur began popping out all across my shrinking body as the rubbery inner cooling suit began collapsing around me. It wasn't as well armoured as the outer layer.
Do you know what hot sweaty rubber smells like? To an enhanced nose? Trust me, it STINKS!
The rubber stretched as my tail widened and grew, painfully stretched against my back between the inner rubber and the outer armour. Sweat against the inner layer dropped out and plastered itself all around me, making my blackish fur hot and sticky and wet. Hair stuck to the rubber and got pulled off as it grew, and I continued to shrink.
The suit fell over on its face, the hard shell keeping it rigid. Strange sounds crackled from the helmet, but I could no longer understand them.
Still I shrunk, already I was twisted up in the rubber, entrapped by my tail, pressed down on my chest. My arms pulled out of the arms of the hard suit and grew shorter and shorter, changing their orientation slight to feet. My legs shrunk as my body curled in around itself. Then my head began to change. The bone cracked, sounding like rattling dice as the plates re-arranged themselves and shrunk, struggling to find a new place. My nose stretched out in front of my eyes as they rotated around my head. My teeth pulled into my jaws, becoming tiny and pointed before they pushed their way back through my gums. All I could do was spit out the blood. My long hair fell off, replaced by smaller, finer hair. I shrunk and shrunk as my bones cracked and my hair grew and shed, and grew and shed...
I found out later that my change was driven by the intensity of the lunar reflection, and the short duration of my infection. Usually the age of the animal approximates the age of the human, at least developmentally, but not for me this time.
I was tiny, alone. The place was strange, entangling. Something had my tail and I curled around and around trying to pull it loose, gradually working it free with ever increasing struggles. It was hot, it grew hotter. It stank. I panted for breath. Then something moved my cave, dragged it, lifted it, dropped it. More strange noises in the distance. It was becoming harder and harder to breathe. The cave was dropped again, there were thuds, a fast roar, a crackling of the cave around me. More voices, different. Terrifying voices. There were sounds from the entrance, movement, a sudden burst of air. Panicked I ran out, pulling myself free of the collapsing cave.
Monsters around me, shouting, screeching. I fled to a corner, I raised my tail, a warning. They kept closing. I acted...
The court rejected my lawsuit claiming it was my own fault. Recordings from her hotel room confirmed that she did warn me -- I guess I was too drunk to remember. It cost a fortune to clean the suits and the buggy -- a fortune I'm still paying!
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org